Apocalypse Copyright © 2004 by C. Marvin Pate and J. Daniel Hays Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hays, J. Daniel, 1953- Apocalypse/ J. Daniel Hays and C. Marvin Pate. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-310-25355-1 (softcover) 1. Church history-Primitive and early church, ca. 30-600-Fiction. 2. Bible. 3. N.T. Revelation-Fiction. I. Pate, C. Marvin, 1952- II. title PS3608.A983A66 2004 813'.6-dc22 2003026921 All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means-electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other-except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Interior design by Michelle Espinoza Printed in the United States of America 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 /.DC/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Chapter One ASSASSINS The sky had grown gray and angry, but no rain had yet fallen. The wind shifted to the north and gained velocity, causing the sails on the two short masts to flutter limply for a moment and then pop tight again.The ship groaned and creaked, then began picking up speed. Standing by the dual rudders at the stern, the captain, known simply as Heron, cursed under his breath and turned the ship slightly to the south, putting the wind behind him. Heron, a Greek, had been on the sea since childhood. His matted curly hair and beard had once been the color of pitch, but now was more gray than black. He stood slightly stooped and his face was lined with wrinkles, proof of the harsh years he had known, both on the sea and in port. He was missing the first two fingers on his left hand, a stark reminder of his brawl with a Thracian sailor over a harlot in Corinth three years earlier. Heron gave a shout, and the five-man crew sprang to life and began to pull down the mainsail and shorten the leading sail.The waves were growing larger by the moment, and one of them suddenly crashed against the back of the fleeing vessel, covering the captain with cold spray and foam. His curses grew audible. He lashed the rudder into place and quickly surveyed his ship. The Orion was a medium-sized ship-not a giant like one of the monstrous Roman grain transports, but not a small coastal lugger either. She had two masts, one now naked in the wind and the other with a shortened but tight sail, straining against the gusting storm. She sat low in the water with a heavy load of Athenian wine, but she was a seaworthy vessel and she rode the big rolling waves well.The storm did not look serious.The captain was concerned not about safety but only about his schedule and the unpleasant task that lay ahead. His two passengers were stirring, the older man walking slowly toward the bow and the young man hurrying nervously toward the captain. As the youth approached a wave crashed into the stern again, spraying both of them. "Mother of Zeus!" cursed the captain. The young man adjusted his wet cloak, wrapping it tighter around him to minimize the effect of the cold wind driving into his body. He was slightly taller than the captain, with green eyes and pitch-black hair, which was now blowing wildly in the wind.The captain knew only that the lad was a merchant's son, returning to Ephesus from delivering a load of wool to Athens. His father must be a fool, mused the captain, to send such a youngster by himself on such a mission. He found himself wondering whether the young man might have a bag of silver coins somewhere underneath that wet cloak. "Captain," the young man said,"I am not a seafaring man, but is it not aHays, J. Daniel is the author of 'Apocalypse', published 2004 under ISBN 9780310253556 and ISBN 0310253551.